Monday, May 29, 2006


Many of our non-American readers will wonder why we celebrate Memorial Day and not specifically Rmembrance Day on Nov. 11 instead. Below is a bit of history to explain the origins of Memorial Day. We'll follow with a couple of other pieces I feel are relevant to this day:

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873.

This from wikipedia:

This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action.

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died.

The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the birthplace because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter, and because it is likely that the friendship of General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who led the call for the day to be observed each year and helped spread the event nationwide, was a key factor in its growth.

General Logan had been impressed by the way the South honored their dead with a special day and decided the Union needed a similar day. Reportedly, Logan said that it was most fitting; that the ancients, especially the Greeks, had honored their dead, particularly their heroes, by chaplets of laurel and flowers, and that he intended to issue an order designating a day for decorating the grave of every soldier in the land, and if he could he would have made it a holiday. That holiday was eventually Memorial Day. ( and

Logan had been the principal speaker in a citywide memorial observation on April 29, 1866, at a cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois, an event that likely gave him the idea to make it a national holiday. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization, Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year. The tombs of fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance of this day.Given its origin in the American Civil War, Memorial Day is not a holiday outside the US.

An immigrant wrote one of my favorite songs when he served in the U.S. Army:

God Bless America

God bless A - mer-i-ca
Land that I love
Stand be-side her and guide her
Thru the night with a light from a - bove

From the moun-tains to the prai-ries
To the o-ceans white with foam
God bless A - mer-i-ca My home sweet home
God bless A - mer-i-ca My home sweet home

"God Bless America" is an American patriotic song written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in 1938. It is sometimes considered an unofficial national anthem of the United States.

Berlin originally wrote the song in 1918 while serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, but decided that it did not fit in a review called Yip Yip Yaphank, so he set it aside. The lyrics at that time included the line, "Make her victorious on land and foam, God bless America..."

In 1938, with the rise of Hitler, Berlin, who was a Jewish immigrant from Siberia, felt it was time to revive it as a "peace song" and it was introduced on an Armistice Day broadcast in 1938 sung by Kate Smith. The song was a hit; there was even a movement to make "God Bless America" the national anthem of the United States. In 1943, Smith's rendition was featured in the patriotic musical This Is the Army along with other Berlin songs. Manuscripts in the Library of Congress reveal the evolution of the song from victory to peace.

We have peace because we have war.

Well, really. Let’s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they [technocrats] were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire – the “mighty engine of profit” to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to “ignorance” – a derivative, after all, of the word “ignore” – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.

Ward Churchill.

The Gettysburg Address Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


Bushwack said...

Thanks for the lesson, Some of these I did not know.
Hope you are having a great day.

Jane said...

You mentioned that you couldn't find any reference on the internet to the claim by author Paul Williams that a "hive" of Islamic radicals are working or studying in the Nuclear Science Dept. at McMaster University. I just keyed in "Coast to Coast AM with George Nori", which is where I heard the interview and the website came up. Then I looked under the date of the radio interview, last Thursday, the 26? or 27? of May. They have a summary but they dropped the name McMaster University and just stated, "a university in Ontario."

Also, the cartoonist who critiqued the cartoons of Mohammed for this month's Harpers magazine is a Dhimmi. He stated in the article that the newspapers who printed the original cartoons were demonstrating their own "ant-immigrant bias" and "Islamophobia." He also said in an interview with Reuters that he did not want these people showing up to kill him! He's as much an appeaser as Heather Reisman is for banning this month's Harpers from Indigo bookstores.

Jane said...

Actually, the cartoonist did not say he feared Islamists would show up to kill him; he said he did not want these people declaring holy war on him.
Look at the Reuters interview with this guy, May 16th.

dag said...

And you, Bushwack.

The photo at the bottom of the post is the officer's quarters from an old U.S. Cavalry fort in my home town of yesteryear. Many of my townsmen were descended from Confederates. I'm pleased to write that three step-brothers are career military, a step-sister married a career man, and another sister married a policeman. We come from the "South of the North. "The states are united. I've been away a long time, and I don't know those people. Now I look at the U.S. military and think that they might be my brothers.

dag said...

Jane, thanks again for the lead. I'll do what I can to follow up. Canada has earned a reputation as a world creep, and if one were to examine the "elite" it is deserved. There are the rest of the citizens to consider, though, and they are showing now some disgust with those elitists who aid and abet our enemies, the enemies of Humanity at large. The world is turning, and it becomes better daily. In many ways it's because we have access to each other as people rather than filtering our communications through the mainstream dhimmi fascist media. It's folks like you, Jane, who will make the difference here and stop this fascism from spreading, who will in time beat it back and even destroy it so all can live in peace and freedom and enjoyment of their personal lives as they see fit.

That comes at a price. This is the time for us to spend our lives. Let's make it worthwhile.

t-ham said...

I sent this to dag by email while having difficulty accessing ND. I believe it is sufficiently interesting enough to offer up to the rest of our little band. Addressing the concept of "Just War", it is appropriate enough for Memorial Day to be considered on thread.

It comes from a new(1st issue spring 06) journal called "The Objective Standard", a publication apparently associated with the Ayn Rand Institute, although there is a disclaimer that they are distinct and separate organs.

The "Just War" article;

Additionally, there is a rather lengthy article by the editor, one Craig Biddle, introducing the Journal, laying out the views of the organization, and describing it's mission and intent.

dag, I regret emailing you before reading this, it's almost something you should have read before the "Just War" article in that it provides context for the views in the former.

Either way, I think this is a view you might recognize, and might provide a point of departure when we speak of finding another way forward in overcoming the obstacles in front of us that are presented as solutions, the only solutions we are told.

Always On Watch said...

Another important lesson in history and culture.

dag said...

I'm still here, friends; and we, my associates in Vancouver, Canada and elsewhere on the Internet, all wish you the best, wherever you might be.